Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Garon)

Amid the heady rumors of Marian Hossa and Jaromir Jagr being courted by Edmonton, the most amazing moment of 2008 (re: Oilers) received the attention of a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream (hat tip: John Candy).

Hossa’s agent Ritch Winter suggested Hossa’s concern about being an Edmonton Oiler came down to goaltending.

I remember questioning my own ears when I heard it, because the Oilers goaltending situation has improved since the day Roloson flew over. Plus, if Garon and Roloson aren’t clients of Winter that’s just really bad form and the “elephant in the room” for the Northwest division is in Calgary.

The Oilers’ starter last season performed reasonably well compared to the division’s #1′s:

07-08SP
  1. Niklas Backstrom (MIN) 58gp, .920
  2. Roberto Luongo (VCR) 73gp, .917
  3. Mathieu Garon (EDM) 47gp, .913
  4. Jose Theodrore (COL) 53gp, .910
  5. Mikka Kiprusoff (CGY) 76gp, .906

The Flames needed to address goaltending, at the very least bringing in a quality backup to give Kipper some rest (which is likely a lot of the problem). Calgary now have Curtis McElhinney as backup and that Irving kid is waiting in the wings. Colorado decided to undertake an experimental approach to their goaltending and now have a combination in goal that resembles Tom and Dick Smothers.

The Oilers? It looks for all the world like they acquired a guy at the right time. Garon is just 30 now, his SP’s have been solid save for the Black Hole of LA (which is currently trying to swallow LaBarbara) but even a closer look there suggests he was performing at a level superior to other candidates:

06-07 Los Angeles SP’s
  1. Garon .907 in 32gp
  2. Sean Burke .901 in 23gp
  3. Barry Brust .878 in 11gp
  4. Dan Cloutier .860 in 24gp

The Kings were a mess and Garon wasn’t Luongo but he wasn’t Yutaka Fukfuji either. His career SP in the NHL is .906 and in the AHL it’s .915 and he’s certainly earned a chance to grab that number one slot. His salary is $1.1M and that has a tremendous chance to be a bargain.

The danger here is in signing him to a big contract. He does not have the kind of resume you’d like to see in a top flight free agent making the big money. I suspect the biggest decision for this Tambellini fellow this season will have to do with Garon and when/if to sign him long term.

Goaltending can make qualified people look positively stupid. The improvements up front, along with fewer grenades on the blue should mean a slight improvement for Garon this season.

Prediction for 08-09: 52gp, 2.75 .915

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10 Responses to "Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Garon)"

  1. Sean says:

    If garon goes .915 oilers win the div

  2. Mark-Ryan says:

    Agreed.

    Except for the “Kiprusoff needs rest” theory. He sucked at the start of the year, not the end of it.

  3. Paper Designer says:

    You’re suggesting playing Roloson for thirty games. Ick, no. Roloson should not start more than two games in a row.

  4. Lowetide says:

    paper designer: MacT runs with the hot hand, just does. You have to know there’s a chance Roloson plays 52 games in 08-09.

  5. Schitzo says:

    You have to know there’s a chance Roloson plays 52 games in 08-09.

    Well, at least this year Roloson is pretty much coming in as the underdog. If he plays 50+ games it means he’s earned it.

    … Let’s just hope he earns it by returning to playoff form, not because Garon shits the bed.

  6. James says:

    I agree totally. I would like to see Garon sign the contract that Roli has right now. 3 years for 3-3.5 per year. That would be fair, and even extending Roli on a year by year basis at 1 mil would be good insurance….assuming JDD or DD does not take a backup spot. That’s pretty solid goaltending for under 5 mill.

    Just like Detroit does. They win cups and never spend big $$$$ between the pipes.

  7. Schitzo says:

    James: I think Detroit would tell you that 3.5 on an average goalie is already way too much.

    We’re hoping Garon is top-15 in the league, but really, aren’t spots 10-25 pretty much interchangeable?

  8. C.Knight says:

    “Colorado decided to undertake an experimental approach to their goaltending and now have a combination in goal that resembles Tom and Dick Smothers.”

    Well played sir, well played.

  9. Bruce says:

    Except for the “Kiprusoff needs rest” theory. He sucked at the start of the year, not the end of it.

    Mark-Ryan: Kipper pretty much got lit up by the Sharks. Two strong games to open the series, but in Games 3-7 he won only one game, got pulled twice, and posted sub-stellar percentages of 3.89 and .877. Looks (and looked) pretty much like suckage to me.

  10. spOILer says:

    LT, your hat tip should be to John Hughes not his mouthpiece, Candy. Good writers are worth $17 and a nice watch; actors on the other hand are as common as Casio’s.

    I think what Hossa and Winter were referring to was Goals Against, not Goaltending. I know they said goaltending, but that’s the way I took it.

    Since our defense and our defensive lines are defensively poorer than last year, Garon’s numbers will likely a beating. …Unless Souray and Moreau can play a full year effectively.

    As for Garon’s extension… I’d be happy if Garon and Roli flipped contracts. Roli’s contract is in 2006 dollars, which means we’d be in essence offering Garon about $3M instead of $3.7M.

    Unless Roli stinks out the joint this year, I see no reason why he can’t be an effective backup signed on a year-by-year basis.

    My expectations are: Garon 58gp, Roli 20gp, JDD 4gp.

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